Well I don’t have the energy to tackle anything on the list today, and here’s why:
Drew woke up at 4:30 am screaming. His eyes were still closed, but he was crying and yelling about bubbles. I assumed it was a nightmare. We took his temperature; it was fine.
Flash forward to 6 am. He was happily eating his breakfast, but his fruit pouch didn’t get to his tray fast enough. The screaming commenced. “What is your problem?” I asked. For the next hour, nothing made him happy. I finally took his temperature again—it had climbed to 101.5. It was time for a trip to the doctor.
Doctors are the ultimate grown-ups. They know all the big words, they tell you what to do, they give out medicine, they can say things like, “don’t get out of bed,” and “you’ve got to do better than that.” They talk to each other over our heads. They KNOW what to do.
That’s why it’s so hard being a grown-up at the doctor with a baby. Because I’m trying to convince Drew that I know what’s best and that Mom is in control, when I’m really not. Luckily, he has wonderful doctors, and luckily this time it was just an ear infection. We got our prescription, I put him in the stroller and wrestled with the bags, and we left. The grown-ups could handle the onslaught of flu and strep while we watched cartoons and took antibiotics at home.
As I was trying to keep the stroller from blowing across the parking lot, I heard a loud whirring above our heads. A helicopter, flying so low we got a more-than-usually close look. “Drew, it’s a helicopter! Look!” I said, as he stared up at the cool machine with a grin, his blonde hair blowing in his eyes. We waved at it…and then I realized why it was so close.
It slowed down and began its descent towards the hospital across the highway. I felt like such a fool, waving and smiling at somebody being airlifted. “Drew, let’s say a prayer for them,” I said, as our problems faded into nothingness. “Dear God, please help the person in that helicopter to be okay, and give the doctors wisdom. Amen.”
That’s what we always pray—that the doctors will have wisdom. They have knowledge—wisdom is something else. Something God-given. It comes from experience and steadiness and maturity. And they NEED to be mature, because sickness reduces us all to childhood. We fuss and cry and refuse to follow instructions; sometimes we question whether they know what they’re talking about. We figure maybe we could do the job better.
I have NEVER had the desire to be a doctor, and I don’t know why anyone would. That’s a lie, I do know why—they save people’s lives. They snatch people out of danger. They fix human beings. And they get paid like princes. But I don’t envy them—the work they do sounds awful and hard and draining and gross.
I met the wife of one of my father’s many doctors from when he was sick years ago—I met their little girl. “Do you know, I know your daddy?” I said. “He was my daddy’s doctor and he saved his life.” My eyes filled up just saying it. For a second there, I was a little kid also, talking about my daddy being sick. I’ve never felt more helpless and irrelevant than when the arch-grownup, my father, was being treated for cancer. Thank God he’s okay. Thank God for wise doctors.
Still, everybody has their calling. I remember once at Urgent Care, a nice young Physician’s Assistant came into the exam room to give me a shot. “And what do you do?,” he asked politely.
“Oh, I’m a middle school teacher,” I replied.
“Woah. I could never do that,” he said, sticking the needle into my arm. “That sounds really hard.”
My OB/GYN who delivered Andrew got to see me cry a bunch of times. And I remember one particular appointment when I kicked my husband out of the room so I could ask the doctor a question about the delivery. I was scared to death. “It’ll be fine,” he assured me. He’d been doing this for ages, after all, he reminded me.
“So you’ll know what to do?” I said, my voice coming out shaky and childish.
“Yes. I’ll know what to do.”
“Okay.” I returned to my life with faith in his expertise. Although becoming a mom was the most adult experience of my entire life—the adventure that ushered me into the Sisterhood of Motherhood, the lifelong club that spans socioeconomic gaps and generations—I’d never felt so out of control.
Maybe THAT’S why people become doctors—to make people feel better, in more ways than one. This world is so full of pain, all kinds of pain. If you CAN fix some of it, you SHOULD.
I’m okay with Andrew becoming a doctor, no matter how expensive medical school is. I’m also okay with him becoming a nurse, a lab technician, or a pharmacist. The day I take my own son’s advice is coming someday, whether or not he enters the medical field. And I won’t listen to him, but that should come as no surprise.